When faced with a sea of beautiful colors and textures at our garden center, a common question we hear is, “how do I decide?”

Our brain is wired to gravitate towards flowers that catch our eye. It could be a color or shape that we find interesting but, if we only rely on that to make our decisions, we sometimes end up with a hodgepodge that doesn’t flow well once we get everything planted.

When choosing plants for our displays or containers at the garden center, we think about the basics of color. These are the principles that are used by artists, designers and yes, garden centers that are all based on the simple color wheel.

There are three basic color schemes to consider: Monochromatic, Analogous and Complimentary.

Monochromatic colors are all the colors of a single hue such as a scale going from deep red to light red.

Analogous colors are two colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, and a tertiary. Red, orange, and red-orange are examples.

Complementary colors are pairs of colors which, when placed next to each other, create the strongest contrast for those two colors. Complementary colors are found opposite to each other on the color wheel such as purple and yellow.

Selecting one of these basic schemes takes the guesswork and fear out of creating a beautiful garden or container. So, the next time you’re out shopping take a look around and focus on the colors you see in store displays. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be designing like a pro!!